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Vester AllĂŠ 24, 3.sal 8000 Aarhus C +45 86 370 400 kristianlund@cfdp.dk www.cfdp.dk

Aarhus March 30th, 2011 Cyberhus / CfDP's input for the online child safety workshop on the 16 of March, 2011. Cyberhus / Centre for Digital Youth Care, and I personally, very much enjoyed participating in the discussion on child safety; and I would like to take this opportunity to extend on that conversation. In the following, I will summarise and elaborate on the some of the topics raised by us or others at the workshop, which we believe are most important, or most neglected. Please do not hesitate to respond or get in touch, if you have questions, comments or another perspective entirely.

A targetted approach. Cyberhus' online counselling helps some of the most at-risk children and youths in Denmark, and we can confirm the pattern reported elsewhere; the youths with real life challenges and issues face, suffer or create, a disproportionately large amount of the problems and harm online. This is neither surprising or new, but calls for a much more targetted approach to online safety, than we have seen so far. The same campaign or tool will not help all youths, all over Europe, and we need to focus our efforts - not on the largest demographic, but on the target group where we can prevent most harm. Educating and helping youth at risk is never easy, also because their immediate family will often not have the ressources or abilities to guide and help, and hence be part of our efforts to do the same. Hence, our primary suggestion is, that ICT skills and safe and positive online usage is integrated as goals into all points of contact with the target group; this includes schools, youth clubs, full care homes and more. This is primarily a political goal, but the industry can do much to help achieve it. Donations of hardware or software to institutions and social workers in contact with at-risk youths can make a difference in integrating ICT as a natural part of children and young people's lives, in the environments where learning opportunities arise naturally. Development of specialised software solutions for, and educating and awareness raising efforts aimed at, these professionals are just as important - Cyberhus tries to do both, but we, and the institutions we help, are severely underfunded. We hope that a solution for online child safety in Europe will include special considerations for helping those most likely to meet and be susceptible to harm online.

A positive approach. We raised another point in the various workshop groups, on the general methods used in ensuring online child safety; that we need to focus on positive net use, instead of negative. We are in no way denying the need for clear rules, safety tools or regulations to deal with illegal or harmful content and conduct, but we are at the same time insistent that this is only half of the picture. There is a clear need to stop and prevent negative use, but our contact with children and young people convinces us that the need for a positive approach is even clearer. Especially younger children and youth at risk do not always respond well to admonitions, and are in much more need of positive affirmation and understanding of what positive, constructive net use is. We have used such methodologies for years in Cyberhus, when helping schools with web ethics, and doing workshops on online bullying, and we believe they are the most succesful in reaching youths and changing attitudes and behaviour.

CfDP - Centre for Digital Youth Care is a socioeconomic company, which aims to ensure digital safety and well-being for children and young people.


Vester AllĂŠ 24, 3.sal 8000 Aarhus C +45 86 370 400 kristianlund@cfdp.dk www.cfdp.dk

Aarhus March 30th, 2011 We further believe that the best way to stop negative behaviour is to learn positive behaviour. A good example, an interesting task or a cool project does much more to form a child, than does the list of 'do not'-rules hanging in computer rooms around our schools today. I will not belabour the point of how technical solutions such as filters or locked down computers hardly ever work, or are directly detrimental to learning competent and positive net use, but will point out some alternative examples on how technological tools can be used to further this positive agenda that we find more constructive and effectful. In forming regulations for the industry, it is natural to focus on prohibitions and rules; we should be attentive that we also encourage efforts to proactively and positively reach out to those who need help the most.

Children's profiles. Creating a children's profile for the various social networks, would be an example of working towards a solution that actively helps kids and parents learn and practice safe and positive net use, instead of focusing only on dealing with transgressions as they occur. Kids want to join social networks very early; in our experience from Denmark often before the age of ten. We believe that the best opportunities for learning are in these younger years; conflicts are on a much smaller scale, parent and teacher authority is much more respected and one's action rarely have ramifications beyond the small social circles we place kids in during their school years. These are just some of the reasons why we would naturally want kids to learn positive and safe use of the web and social media as early as possible. It is a great opportunity to learn, and there are many ways to support that learning and teaching through specialised profiles for kids. There already exists alternative networks for kid's, such as Togetherville. Togetherville is even tied to a parents Facebook account, and allows some crossposting. But for now, it remains a closed garden for kids with adult supervision. This is not a bad start, and allows kids to become familiar with functionality and usage. But it suffers from certain problems: A social network for kids is just and only that. At some point, a child will want to use a better, full featured or simply more grown-up service. We need profiles to be consistent, or easily importable to a new service. But even with such capabilities, saying no to the move to another service is still telling the child the never-popular 'you are not old enough'. The best approach would be one of incrementally adding features. Parents can then chose to open up for image sharing, creating new friendships, extending the visibility of one's profile, etc. Each such step could be a learning experience, a chance to talk about what this means and what you have to live up to, in order to be trusted with this new freedom. Relevant material to inform and help parents could be created, relevant to each step and functionality. Such functionality would also provice social workers in full care homes to allow their charges onto a social network, under circumstances that are compatible with current law and good practise.

CfDP - Centre for Digital Youth Care is a socioeconomic company, which aims to ensure digital safety and well-being for children and young people.


Vester AllĂŠ 24, 3.sal 8000 Aarhus C +45 86 370 400 kristianlund@cfdp.dk www.cfdp.dk

Aarhus March 30th, 2011 Other awareness-centric tools. The focus on incremental addition of features is what turns a children's profile into more than a walled garden or site-specific filter. We should look, rather, to create tools that further learning and awareness raising, both for kids, their parents and professionals around them. Quizes and games to be played by a child and parent together, will offer more situations where the the relevant questions can arise, rules can be set down and discussions can be had. Awareness-raising is traditionally thought of as posters, flyers, tv campaign spots and, in the best of cases, guiding teachers and parents in confronting kids directly, the role of tools in changing attitudes has been somewhat overlooked. While technological gimmicks cannot replace actual contact, they can inform and engage - and most important of all, they can help kids and the adults around them engage with each other. The actual content could be focused on various topics such as recognising spam, malware or attack site, illegal content, but primarily on the softer topics like which pictures are suitable, what messages can be misinterpreted, respect for other's privacy, etc. Apart from having safety and web ethics as their content matter, specific tools can also form the usage and experience of a certain function. Sharing a photo taken from a cell phone, for example, does not have to be something you either can or cannot do - why not make a moderation queue, the daily contents of which can encourage a dinner table conversations on proper camera use, and someday a discussion whether one is old enough to have it turned on. Programs that block calls or texts to unknown numbers, should also include well though-out ways in which one can ask for permission. These are not necessarily the easiest from a technological point of view - maybe waiting until one is face-to-face is a better choice for certain requests! When designing hardware and software for kids, the goal should never be to automate any part of parenting or teaching. The goal is to enable, encourage and ease those very tasks. The best parent is not one who says no or yes to every request; but if those are the only options for phone, social network, or any other particular ICT use, that is exactly the kind of parenting we are automating and encouraging.

Reporting as a learning experience. Plenty of other suggestions for such awareness-centric tools can undoubtedly be found, and many implemented to great benefit for parents and children. A final kind of positive technological contribution, that we want to mention, is the increased usage of report buttons on various services. Enabling the user to report not only illegal content, but also harrasment and unsuitable content is a great improvement, and we believe it could benefit from the multi-stakeholder approach. Standardisation of terminology and visual cues would make it easier to learn and remember the various ways of reporting content. Furthermore, it would be possible to utilise the same terms and icons in eg. the Safer Internet programme's campaigns and in the daily work we do as helplines. We generally encourage all stakeholders to make use of the helplines, especially with regards to problematic, but maybe not illegal, content like harrasment. We hope that the current regulation initiative will include a further improvements on reporting systems, and their standardisation and colloborative features. The act of reporting, or considering reporting, problematic content should also be thought of as a chance to engage and teach. The text and choices met by a child or young person, as they report content should be focused not only on results of the process, but also on what their learn. Obviously, it is also the perfect chance to recommend a helpline to talk to, or sending the content in question on to a parent or teacher.

CfDP - Centre for Digital Youth Care is a socioeconomic company, which aims to ensure digital safety and well-being for children and young people.


Vester AllĂŠ 24, 3.sal 8000 Aarhus C +45 86 370 400 kristianlund@cfdp.dk www.cfdp.dk

Aarhus March 30th, 2011 Cyberhus and CfDP Centre for Digital Youth Care (abbreviated CfDP, from the Danish title), is a socioeconomic company. It deals with social work in new media, imparts knowledge of digital education and offer collaborative projects. Moreover, the centre runs the projects for children and young people, Cyberhus and the Cyberskole. Cyberhus offers online counselling on a 'virtual club house' platform, while Cyberskole engages kids on issues of safe and ethical web use, in their classrooms. The organisation is anchored in the national organisation, Ungdommens Vel (Youth Welfare). We hope to be part of the European deliberations on creating a safer internet for children and young people, and believe we can contribute with expertise on vulnerable youths, web ethics and particularly helping and engaging with kids online.

Kind regards, Kristian Lund

CfDP - Centre for Digital Youth Care is a socioeconomic company, which aims to ensure digital safety and well-being for children and young people.


Self-regulation in the field of online child safety  

Self-regulation in the field of online child safety

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